Innovative drug-resistant TB trial launched in South Africa

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WESTERN CAPE (iol.co.za) – Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has joined forces with the Department of Health and numerous organisations to launch a drug-resistant TB trial in South Africa.

Approximately half a million people around the world suffer from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) each year.

A staggering 19 000 of those cases are seen in South Africa and 59% of people diagnosed with TB are co-infected with HIV.

‘Expand new drug markets for TB’ (endTB) is a controlled trial of five new, all-oral 9-month treatment regimens for MDR-TB.

Their main goal is to find treatments for MDR-TB that are less toxic but more effective than current treatments.

Khayelitsha site aims to enrol between 90 to 120 patients until 2020, while a total of 750 patients are set to be enrolled in the clinical trial.

“The endTB trial aims to revolutionise the standard MDR-TB treatment by dropping the injectable entirely using bedaquiline and delamanid, the first TB drugs to have been developed in almost 50 years, along with other oral TB drugs such as clofazimine, linezolid, fluoroquinolones and pyrazinamide, in experimental combinations of up to five drugs,” says Jared Borain, Trial Study Coordinator for endTB in Khayelitsha.

Patients enrolled with the Khayelitsha site are promised to receive treatment at primary health care facilities rather than hospitals.

“MSF, in close collaboration with the department of health, has been providing care for people with drug-resistant TB for many years, in South Africa, and in many other countries,” says Dr Laura Triviño, MSF medical referent in Khayelitsha. “I have seen too many people on toxic treatment for drug-resistant TB, suffering from nausea, joint pains, psychosis and even going deaf as a result of the injectable.”

endTB is a partnership between Partners in Health, Médecins Sans Frontières, Interactive Research & Development and financial partner UNITAID. Prestigious companies such as Epicentre, Harvard Medical School and the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp are partners of the clinical trial.

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